Keith Hobbs wants action on burned CN bridge

The continuing closure of the James Street swing bridge is frustrating Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs.

Thunder Bay mayor worries CN will keep road portion of James Street swing bridge permanently closed

It’s still unclear when the James Street bridge will reopen to vehicle and pedestrian traffic as CN Rail awaits a final consultants’ report about the damage caused by last month’s fire. (CBC)

The continuing closure of the James Street swing bridge is frustrating Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs.

CN Rail announced last week it will spend another three months studying the bridge before deciding its next step.

Hobbs called the decision disappointing.

“We're probably going to have to … sit down with Fort William First Nation to come up with a game plan,” he said.

“You know, we talked about this Unity Bridge, and I think it's time to start putting … the pressure [on] the federal government … and get some funding for a new bridge because obviously we can't rely on CN.”

Hobbs said thousands of vehicles use the bridge every day, and the closure is putting people in danger.

He said he is concerned there could be a fatal accident at the Chippewa Road and Highway 61 intersection, where traffic volumes have ballooned since the bridge shutdown.

“It's inconveniencing a lot of people and it's a huge safety issue,” Hobbs said.

“What's happening on Highway 61 and 61B ... I'm very concerned that there's going to be a very bad accident there and, if there's a fatality, you know, someone should answer for that.”

Hobbs said CN can't be relied on because it only needs the bridge for its railway track.

"Obviously we can't rely on CN to maintain that bridge,” he said.

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